Something New


I love the concept of learning something new everyday, whether it’s a new word to add to the vocabulary, or a snippet of information you didn’t know. I’ll admit I’m one of those people who love useless trivia. Did you know there are two million possible sandwich combinations that can be created from a Subway menu, or that fish are in fact susceptible to seasickness? I don’t ever want to stop learning, there are so many subjects that I find fascinating.

But one of the things I like most of all is the feeling that you could learn something every time you step into the kitchen. There are hundreds of different cuisines to explore and a countless amount of ingredients, each with its own flavours and properties. It excites me to go into the kitchen knowing that I’m going to make something new, because you’re never quite sure how it will turn out – in triumph or in tears. I remember the first time I made choux pastry, about two years ago. My profiteroles were sad, flat little mounds rather than gloriously risen puffs. I didn’t know what went wrong, and it took me three attempts (and probably some rather choice language) before I finally got it right. Here is a short list of the things I’ve since learned about making perfect choux…

• This recipe has a considerable amount of water. It’s the water turning to steam in the oven that makes them puff.
• When adding the flour, make sure the butter mixture is boiling rapidly. This ensures that the starch cells in the flour will accept more water and create more steam, and consequently more puff.
• I like to sift the flour before adding it to the mixture. You will need to stir vigorously to prevent lumps forming and incorporate the flour evenly.
• Make sure the oven is at the correct temperature before the puffs go in, and don’t be tempted to open the oven door while they are cooking!
• When they are cooked, prick the puffs with a skewer or cut them open to release the steam, and then return them to the oven for 5 minutes, which prevents them from going soggy.
• Cooked but unfilled choux will keep in an airtight container for 3 days or can be frozen for up to 3 weeks.

Choux pastry is a wonderful base for an incredible variety of sweet and savoury dishes; the choice of what to fill your éclairs or profiteroles with is up to you! Crème pâtissèrie, or pastry cream is one of my favourite things to make so I decided to put my leftover ginger to good use with one of its very best friends, dark chocolate. It gave the cream a nice subtle flavour that I loved. I dipped my profiteroles into melted chocolate, but you could also drizzle it on top. This is also my entry for Hay Hay Its Donna Day #20, brainchild of Barbara from Winos and Foodies, now being looked after by Bron Marshall, and hosted this month by Suzana of Home Gourmets.

Chocolate and Ginger Profiteroles
Adapted from Baking From My Home To Yours by Dorie Greenspan and Gourmet Traveller
Makes about 40 small profiteroles

Chocolate and Ginger Pastry Cream
• 2 cups whole milk
• About 6 strips of fresh ginger, cut with a vegetable peeler
• 4 large egg yolks
• 6 tablespoons sugar
• 3 tablespoons cornflour, sifted
• ¼ teaspoon salt
• 7 (200g) ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted
• 2 ½ tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces, at room temperature

Choux Pastry
• 100g unsalted butter
• 1 cup cold water
• 150g plain flour, sifted
• 4 eggs

• Melted dark chocolate, for dipping

1. To make the dark chocolate cream, bring the milk to a boil, add strips of ginger and infuse for at least 30 minutes. Strain and discard the pieces of ginger.
2. Re-heat the milk. In a heavy bottomed saucepan, whisk the egg yolks with the sugar, cornflour and salt until thick and well blended. Without stopping whisking, drizzle in about ¼ cup of the hot milk, then add the remainder of the milk in a steady stream. Put the pan over medium heat, and whisking vigorously, bring the mixture to a boil. Keep at a boil, still whisking for 1-2 minutes.
3. Remove the pan from the heat. Whisk in the melted chocolate and let stand for 5 minutes. In the meantime, fill the sink about a quarter full with water and ice cubes. Whisk in the pieces of butter, stirring until they are fully incorporated and the cream is smooth and silky.
4. Put the bowl into the ice filled sink, and stir occasionally until it is thoroughly chilled. Refrigerate with plastic pressed against the surface of the cream to avoid a skin forming.
5. To make the choux pastry, preheat the oven to 220°C (430°F) and line a baking tray with non-stick baking paper. Combine butter and water in a large saucepan and bring to the boil over high heat. Add flour and beat vigorously with a wooden spoon until mixture leaves the sides of the pan. Remove from the heat and cool for 10 minutes.
6. Add eggs to the mixture, beating vigorously to combine after each addition before adding the next. To make profiteroles, use either a piping bag or a spoon to make 3cm mounds on the baking tray.
7. Bake for 15 minutes. Prick pastries with a skewer or the tip of a small knife and bake for an additional 5 minutes until golden and dry. Cool profiteroles on a wire rack before filling with chocolate and ginger pastry cream. Dip into melted dark chocolate before serving.

23 Comments on “Something New”

  1. Mark, hehe thank you! I’m persistent when it comes to sweet things like this. When my pasta making foray was a bit of a disaster I went and poured a glass of wine instead and let dad cook linguine to go with the nice sauce I’d made 😛

    Suzana, my pleasure! Thanks for choosing such a great theme!

    Dawn, aww thank you! The steps listed above really do help for making choux. I hope you’ll try it one day 🙂

    Bobby, thanks! I’m a regular chocaholic too. The best thing about these was definitely the pastry cream. Lucky there’s leftovers!

    Phemom, thank you so much!

  2. Becky, we nearly did! Luckily some managed to make it to the freezer before we gobbled them all up 🙂

    Catherine, thank you! I hope it helps!

  3. Lisa, your cream puffs look flawless! I love how shiny the icing is. Fabulous.
    And I love learning new things everyday, too, that’s why I intend to dare a little more when choosing recipes to try. 🙂
    Tks for being such an inspiration!

  4. I love your choux pastry tips, very informative. I will definitely keep them all in mind next time I am attempting profiteroles. I also loved finding out that fish can get sea-sick… I will be passing this one to as many people as I can 😉
    Love your blog
    pea & pear

  5. I remember the first time I made choux puffs too. I didn’t realise you had to dry them out after they had puffed up, so they went all flat and soggy after I brought them out of the oven. Your profiteroles look perfect. Perfectly tasty, that is 🙂

  6. Patricia, thank you! Learning new things in the kitchen is always good, even if you’re learning from mistakes.

    Pea&Pear, glad to be of assistance. Did you know celery has negative calories? It takes more energy to digest it than the celery had in the first place!

    Y, yes, that step really helped the end result. Nice puffed up profiteroles. They were certainly tasty 🙂

  7. Your Profiteroles look wonderful! My son used to make them for me before he went to college and I would so gratefully eat all that he set in front of me…but I never tried to make them myself. I have bookmarked your post in case I decide to give it a try. Very tempting!

  8. Chocolate, ginger, choux? – What more could a girl want? A combination of 3 of my most favourite things – so I just know I couldn’t but LOVE and ADORE these. Wonderful!

  9. I can only assume that people are laying garlands at your feet and sing your praises. I know I am, well singing your praises at least, I think we’re to far apart for the garland part. Excellent entry!

  10. Your choux came out looking wonderful! It must be all those learnings 🙂 I too wish that I never stop learning…we are given many opportunities to do so, we just have to make sure we use them! 🙂

  11. Lisa, hi! aww its sweet that your son made them! I hope you’ll try it out for yourself one day since you’re bound to get choux cravings when he’s not around!

    Barbara, mmm I do too.

    Bron, nice to see you here on my little blog! They really were delicious, I can’t wait to experiment with other choux fillings too.

    Bordeaux, haha I wish, garlands would be nice, I did get high praise for these, thank you 🙂

    Phemom, nice to see you again!

    Chichajo, thank you, and I agree, there is so much to learn, so much to read, so many people to talk to. How can people ever be bored!

  12. Lisa your combination of chocolate and ginger is a wonderful idea. My dearly departed mother-in-law would have eaten the whole plate. Chocolate and ginger was her utmost fave.

  13. Pam, I’m sure my grandmother would have loved to do the same. It was great fun to play with this combination.

    Clumbsy Cookie, how could I not persevere when its profiteroles we’re talking about! They’re definitely one of my favourite desserts 🙂

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